Installing WordPress on VestaCP is not straightforward. The default package installer Softacluous won’t let you install WordPress and some other popular script directly. It will ask you purchase subscription package. Nonetheless, there are ways to install WordPress on VestaCP.

Read: Video Guide to Install & Setup VestaCP with SSL

First, go to WordPress and download the zip file. Then connect to the server using any FTP client (FileZilla or WinSCP) and upload the wordpress zip file. Now extract the file and move content from wordpress directory to public_html directory.

Now the second step is to login to VestaCP and create database. After that go to your domain and follow the steps. Fill the database details where it’s been asked.

Read : How to enable SSL for VestaCP websites

Installing & setup VestaCP with SSL and FTP could be a difficult task for beginners. Needless to say, many of us get lost in simple stuff like FQDN hostname for VestaCP. This guide includes videos as well to show it’s quite easy to install and setup VestaCP. But before we begin, you need to have few things ready.

Lecture 1: Introduction

Requirements

  1. A domain
  2. A VPS or cloud or dedicated server – While placing an order, you would be given options to choose OS like Ubuntu, Debian, or CentOS. I would go with CentOS 7 this time, but if like to go with Ubuntu, it’s completely fine. In other article, I will discuss installing VestaCP on Ubuntu.

Lecture 2: Buying VPS

Lecture 3: Updating and preparing the server

Now after ordering, I hope you have credentials ready to connect to the server. Connecting to the server from Ubuntu and Mac is straightforward. Open the terminal and type the following command to connect.

ssh [email protected]_address -p password

However, for windows you need a special software called putty.

After you are connected to the server it’s time to update OS.

yum update -y

To steup hostname use the following command.

hostnamectl set-hostname server.learnemail.live

Lecture 4: Configuring DNS

Now before we proceed with VestaCP installation, let’s make changes to DNS enteries. I have demonstrated Godaddy in the video.

Read: How to create custom nameservers in Namecheap

Lecture 5: Installing VestaCP

Now it’s time to install VestaCP. Copy the following command to install it or you can get commands directly from VestaCP website.

# Download installation script
curl -O http://vestacp.com/pub/vst-install.sh
# Run it
bash vst-install.sh

After installation, you will be give an URL like https://box.example.com:8083 and username “admin” and password. Save it for future and go to the URL given.

Login with the credentials.

Lecture 6: VestaCP configuration

After installation, when you login for the first time, you will be presented with a nice dashboard. Here you have to add the main domain and create few DNS records. This way our server will be reachable over the main domain. After this configuration, you would also be able to access admin at https://example.com:8083. This means you need not always go to hostname or FQDN to access the admin.

Lecture 7: Adding Domains and Subdomains

Adding a domains and subdomains is fairly straightforward. Just go to the WEB tab and click add web domain. After that enter domain name or subdomain and save it. That’s all.

Lecture 8: Creating Plans & Adding Users

If you are planning to sell hosting to customers, then you would have to create different pricing plans and corresponding packages. In order to create plans first go to “Packages” at the top menu. There you would find several plans are already listed. The second step would be to add or edit the existing plan. Now, you have plans ready, head towards “USER” tab, add a user, assign a package, and share credentials with your customers.

Lecture 9: Installing Letsencrypt SSL on VestaCP

Nowadays, SSL is a must for any website. There are several SSL providers costing from ten dollars to thousands of dollars. Fortunately, we do have a free SSL provider which is none other than Letsencrypt. The best part of VestaCP is that you can import and enable letsencrypt SSL easily. In the following video, I have demonstrated the process.

Lecture 10: Creating Mail Accounts

Creating Mail accounts is as simple as adding domain. Just got to Mail tab and hit create account, fill the details and you are good to go.

Read: How to Install WordPress on VestaCP

Finally, you have successfully installed VestaCP. Let me know if you have any questions in the comment.

Email marketing though sound easier, but it’s not the case any more. Unlike old times you cannot send bulk emails without every emails protocols in place. Here are some tools which will help you test your SMTP server to achieve industry standard protocols. These tools will show you reason for deviation from protocols, therefore you would be able to fix it in time. Here, I have listed 10 best email marketing tools and website which would prove useful.

1. Mail-Tester

Mail-tester website let you test your SMTP server to check all standard protocols like DKIM, SPF, reverse DNS, DMARC, etc., are in place. It will also test IP of SMTP server against 3rd party blacklisting. Additionally it gives score on scale of 10. You could rectify issues easily if your score is less than 10.

2. appmaildev

Appmaildev is website for testing SPF, DKIM, DMARC, DomainKey and RBL of your server. Just send email to id given by appmaildev and it will give the result.

3. MXtoolbox

MXtoolbox is mother of all the tool box for testing SMTP. It can test almost every aspect of your email server. Some of them are MX, DKIM, SPF, DNS, DMARC, Blacklist, Blocklist, etc. It can also analyze email headers which you very important information that actually help in better inbox delivery. Apart from that it can also extract emails from text content, all you need is just copy the text and paste.

4. GMass

GMass is perhaps best tool for email marketer. It certainly has features more than many tools combined. You can verify email addresses, test your SMTP, test where your email is landing (Inbox, Spam, promotions), check links, test your email for DKIM, SPF, DMARC, blacklisting, etc. The best part of GMass is many services are absolutely free. However, there is one limitation with GMass is that only Gmail ids work. I hope some day they will expand their portfolio to include other services as well.

gmass

5. Glock Apps

GlockApps is different from above two. It actually gives you about 70-80 email addresses of different ISP where you send emails. Then glockapps will analyze whether emails

  • has been delivered to inbox
  • has been delivered to spam
  • not delivered at all

Finally analysis report will provide insight into your email deliverability, authentication, reputation and DMARC compliance. This way you will able to make necessary amendments into your SMTP.

6. Sender Score

Sender Score is another fantastic tool to analyze your SMTP server. It gave you lots of insight about your email server. Also you will get the score out of 100. Note you might not get score if your server is comparatively new.

7. Talos Intelligence

Cisco Talos Intelligence is basically a internet threat analyzer. Along with many services it also analyze IP & Domain reputation which is of extreme importance for email marketer. The best part is Talos Intelligence doesn’t charge you for this information.

8. SMTP Tester

There are several SMTP tester available but the one I use frequently is SMTPer.

9. Wormly

Wormly is uptime monitoring website but also let you test SMTP.

10. SSL-Tools

SSL-Tools let you check encryption of your mail servers. It also test server vulnerability to Heartbleed.

11. DNSQUERIES

DNSQUERIES as the name suggest checks DNS and tells you if connection could be established with mail server, [email protected] & [email protected] exists, server is accepting mail over [email protected]_address etc.. These information is valuable, though comfortably ignored by many people, play an important role in domain reputation and therefore inbox deliverability.

Conclusion

Though, there are several tools available to test efficacy of your mail server, but none of the solution is all in one. Therefore, you need to bookmark most of them.

I have added tools and website best to my knowledge, but I will add more as soon as I find one. Let me know in comments if you know any other fantastic tool.

Building your own SMTP server for email marketing is no easy task. There are so many ways and each of them cost differently and server different purpose. In this guide I will tell you 10 ways in which you can build SMTP server.

Read: 10 best email marketing tools and website

Open Source Software

1. Zimbra

Zimbra open source edition is very well known and popular software that you can use to build your SMTP server. It is being used by very big companies and institution like NTPC. It’s is also heavy software therefore you will need big VPS or cloud. Apart from that installing Zimbra could be quite tricky for beginners. But I have written guide for you following which you would be able to install it easily.

2. Mail-in-a-box

Mail-in-a-box is quite popular open source software which can be installed on Ubuntu only. This software is lightweight and the best part of the software is that it can be installed with just one command. It also has very large and active community. So you can definitely rely on them in case of any issue. MIAB also supports NextCloud drive and contact, which makes managing contacts easier.

mail in a box

3. iRedMail

iRedMail is also simple and light weight software which supports various Linux OS. Therefore, you can select your favorite OS on VPS and you are good to go.

Installing iRedMail is also simple, with just few commands you can install.

4. MailCow

MailCow is another popular open source software you can use to build your SMTP server. It has large number of contributors on GitHub actively participating in development.

5. Docker Mailserver

Docker Mailserver is open source software is completely developed in docker and supported by hundreds of contributor on GitHub. It is easy to install and any issues is likely to get resolved quickly given that it has huge active community.

6. Mailu

Mailu is free and full-featured mail server software, which runs on the top of docker. It uses roundcube for web access. Therefore you will get nice UI. Also,

it is loaded with admin features like global admins, announcements, per-domain delegation and quotas making easier to manage users.

7. Modoboa

Modoboa with its simplest traditional UI, is simple and easy to install. It also claims to take only 10 minutes for installation, but that definitely depend on your hardware. With standard features like webmail, calendars management, address books management etc. it is open source and free of cost.

Premium Software

1. PowerMTA

The PowerMTA by sparkpost is one the most popular software for mailing server set up. It is being used by very very big email service provider company like MailChimp and SparkPost itself. PowerMTA comes with loaded feature like virtual MTA, cold IP rate limiting, specific ISP based rate, IP rotation etc.

install-configure-powermta-centos-8

2. GreenArrow

GreenArrow boasts themselves as PowerMTA alternative, but it still has long to go before it could reach PowerMTA popularity. Nonetheless, GreenArrow is amazing piece of software.

Summary

There are number of free and premium software/script available for setting up SMTP server. Open source software might not have premium features like IP rotation, rate limiting, ISP based rate, etc., but they are sufficient for email marketers. However if you are planning for sending bulk emails from very first day then obvious choice would be premium software. Let me know if I have missed any popular open source software or premium one in comments.

Recently, one of the my students asked for list of best and cheap VPS hosting provider for email marketing. This is one of difficult question to answer. It is because there are hundreds of VPS hosting provider but none of them is perfect.

Read

10 ways to build your own SMTP server for email marketing

1. Contabo

The German VPS provider sells VPS really cheap. Starting at €4.99 per month they are best one for SMTP server. They sell VPS with open port 25. So you don’t have to worry port at least. You can also order additional IPv4 to fulfill your need of emailing.

Check out Contabo VPS plans

2. OVH

The France based hosting provider is second on my list. They also sells VPS for cheap but not as cheap as Contabo. But they are good one and several datacenters across the world. Here also you can order additional IPv4.

Check out OVH plans

3. Hetzner

It is another cheap VPS provider in Germany and Finland. They do sell VPS with open port 25 as of now. Also you can get up to 10 additional IPs.

Check out Hetzner cloud plans

4. Hostwinds

Hostwinds price is not very cheap, but they are known for reliability. There do offer competitive price and open port 25. Now a days many VPS providers are not selling VPS with open port 25 to curb spamming.

Check out Hostwinds plan

5. Interserver

Interserver not only provide VPS hosting but also let you choose different platform to which you can subscribe based on your need. From KVM to open VZ, they provide various options at competitive price.

Check out Interserver VPS plans

This list would be inexhaustible and I have tried to list few cheap and best one. Let me know in comment if you find another best one.

Installing & configuring PowerMTA could be a daunting task for beginners. However, if you are in digital marketing especially email marketing you would be tempted to try PowerMTA once in a life. Therefore, I have come up with the simplest way to install PowerMTA step by step on CentOS 8.

Beginning

First of all, PowerMTA can be installed standalone as well as along with some control panel like VestaCP, cPanel, Virtualmin/Webmin, CentOS Web Panel, Froxlor, etc. In another article, I already have discussed the installation of VestaCP. If you want to install PowerMTA on VestaCP you can follow it.

In this article, I will be talking about standalone installation. Let’s Begin.

Requirement for PowerMTA

  1. VPS or cloud or dedicated server with at least 2GB of RAM (recommended minimum 8GB). I am using Contabo in this demonstration.
    Best and cheap VPS for email marketing
  2. A domain name. I prefer to buy domain names from Namecheap.
  3. PowerMTA rpm file and license. You can get it from Sparkpost.

Environment Setup

Connecting to server

If you are windows then you will need a SSH client to connect to server. A simple and easy SSH client is putty

Open the putty and paste the IP address of your server

enter-ip-putty

Enter the username, it could be root or anything else provided by your hosting.

Now enter the password. In order to paste anything on putty, use right click of mouse.

enter-username-password-in-putty

Note that password won’t be displayed, therefore you don’t have to right click again and again, just click once.

Checking port accessibilty

Nowadays most of the cloud service providers sell cloud/VPS with port 25 blocked. Unless port 25 is open emailing wouldn’t be possible from your server. Therefore, it’s a good idea to check if outgoing traffic is permitted on port 25.

Install telnet with following command

dnf install telnet -y
telnet mail.inguide.in 25

Output will be something like this

check-port-opening

If you are not getting above result, this means port 25 is allowing outgoing traffic or in simple words, it’s blocked by hosting provider. You may want to request them to open port 25.

To exit above command windows type

quit

followed by enter.

VPS Setup

First of all you need to install CentOS 8 on VPS or cloud, which I already did on Contabo. If your hosting is different then make sure to select CentOS 8, when placing order.

Let’s update the CentOS

dnf update -y

After update finishes off, set up the hostname as follows

hostnamectl set-hostname node1.inguide.in

Don’t forget to replace inguide.in with your domain name. After that check if domain name is updated.

hostname

Domain Setup

Now we will set up domain. Login to your domain registrar and create A record. Also update the MX record to include IP address of your server.

ip4:192.168.12.10

Now upload the rpm package and license to your VPS. Use FileZilla or WinSCP.

Installation and Configuration of PowerMTA

Now we have rpm package on the server. Let’s check the content of current directory to make sure uploaded file exist in it.

ls -l

Now, after verification it’s time to install PowerMTA.

rpm -ivh PowerMTA.rpm

Don’t forget to PowerMTA.rpm with your rpm package name.

Next step is to copy the license file to the /etc/pmta directory.

After this step it’s time to configure pmta so download the config file here.

Next we are going to make changes in configuration file on PC itself. Open it in notepad or notepad++.

Update the IP address and domain name. Also, update the SMTP details to make it unique.

Now, before sending out first email, you need to create following DNS records.

  • SPF record :
v=spf1 a mx a:inguide.in ip4:44.91.76.19 ~all
  • DMARC record: For _dmarc.inguide.in
v=DMARC1; p=none
  • rDNS record: To create rDNS record login to hosting and look for your server IP.
  • DKIM record: Creating DKIM records is a little complicated. It’s been discussed in a separate article.

Testing of SMTP

Now after hard work, it’s time to test the server. Go to https://smtper.net and fill in the details as follows. Also, check out 10 tools to check the efficacy of your SMTP server.

SMTP Hostnode1.inguide.com
SMTP port2525
Use autheticationYes
Loginadminxyz
PasswordadminPassWord
Email From[email protected]
Email to[email protected]

Let’s open Gmail to check whether email has been delivered or not.

Voila! We successfully installed and configured PowerMTA.

Let me know in comment if you have any question. I will be happy to answer.

Today almost all web hosting company provides cPanel on Linux hosting to manage users their website and application. It is because cPanel is simple and easy to use. But when it comes to self hosting, in other words you bought a VPS or cloud and wants to manage application getting cPanel could be expensive affair. The cost of monthly license of cPanel is $15 which will add to your server rental. Luckily, we have number of control panel available free of cost. In this article, I have listed 15 best free control panel that you could use as cPanel alternative. Let’s get started.

1. Virtualmin

Virtualmin is very powerful and flexible control panel. It is available for major Linux distros and just one command is required to install. You can mange user, quotas, email accounts just like cPanel. It doesn’t come with Softaculous but shortcut is available for WordPress installation. Also, WHMCS is available listed in install scripts which will make billing customers easy.

2. VestaCP

VestaCP is light weight and one of the popular control panel. With extremely friendly user interface, it consume very little resources on your server. Therefore, you can install it on smallest specs cloud as well. Also, Softaculous comes with it but not all CMS are unlocked. But you can always upload the web files to public_html directory and install it manually.

3. CentOS Web Panel

CentOS Web Panel is CentOS exclusive control panel. It is loaded with all the necessary features needed to manage your customers.

4. ISPconfig

With extensive documentation and big community ISPconfig control panel is available in market for quite sometime. You can also get support through forum if you ran into issues just in case.

5. Froxlor

Froxlor is completely free and open source panel. It is lightweight software and installs quickly. It is also backed by large community and therefore you will get updates timely. You may find UI of Froxlor is not very intuitive, but its get the job done.

6. Ajenti

Ajenti is one of the best light weight control panel. It can also be extended with phython and JS. If you are looking for no fuss control panel then Ajenti is what you want to choose.

Conclusion

There’s a good number of free control panel available, but obviously you have to make a choice. If you are feeling difficulty in making choice then go through my installation videos, that will definitely help you make choices. However, I am using virtualmin as control panel to manage this website. I hope that could help.